Scotland is a land of incredible beauty and fascinating history, and it’s one of the top destinations in Europe. Whether you're looking to get lost in the charm of a traditional Scottish village or explore the grandeur of a castle, Scotland has something to offer everyone.
Here are five destinations that will make your trip to Scotland a memorable one.
Lambs are relaxing in the green grass. Photo courtesy of lisland/iStock.com
For many travelers, Edinburgh is the first stop in Scotland. The heart of this historic city is Edinburgh Castle, a place that not only embodies Scotland’s rich and tumultuous history, but also its pride and hope for the future.
Built high above the city on top of an extinct volcano, the fortress has played a pivotal role in Scotland’s storied history. Edinburgh Castle is home to the Scottish Crown Jewels, including the Stone of Destiny, which was the coronational seat of ancient kings. During the American Revolution, the castle dungeons housed American prisoners of war. Today, one of the most moving areas of the castle is the Scottish National War Memorial, which was built to commemorate those who Scotland lost during WWI.
Take time to walk the historic Royal Mile in the heart of the Old Town, then head to the Royal Museum or the Museum of Scotland—two museums in one location—on Chambers Street.
An old irn age broch situated at the clickimin loch in lerwick, Shetland islands. Photo courtesy of Martyn Neeson/iStock.com
The Shetland Islands are a world of their own. Made up of 100 islands in an archipelago between Norway and mainland Scotland, these windswept isles are the most northern point in the UK. The islands once belonged to Denmark, but they have a much longer history with an ancient civilization that predates the Vikings and the Picts. Some archeological sites date back to 2500 B.C.
Visit Shetland’s charming capital of Lerwick and rent a car to go exploring. You’re never far from the sea in the Shetlands Islands, and you’ll be surrounded by stunning vistas of soaring cliffs. In the summer, the sky never gets fully dark, but in the winter, you’ll have sweeping views of the stars during the long dark nights.
Fidden beach Isle of Mull Scotland uk Inner Hebrides near to Iona and Fionnphort. One of the best natural Scottish beaches with clear blue sea and white sand and popular with motorhomes and campervans. Photo courtesy of acceleratorhams/iStock.com
ISLES OF MULL AND IONA
Head far off the beaten track with a visit to the Isle of Mull. Drive the one-track roads on this tiny Inner Hebridean island and you’ll come across many sheep (who may decide to block the road), miles of dramatic coastline, tiny villages, and incredible birdlife. You might even see puffins. Don’t miss the picturesque town of Tobermory. Hop the ferry from Mull to the nearby Isle of Iona to see Fingal’s Cave and the historic Iona Abbey and Nunnery.
Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness Scotland Highlands on A82. Photo courtesy of Jiangli/iStock.com
Loch Ness is perhaps the most famous Scottish destination, and for good reason. It's home to Scotland's most mythical resident, the Loch Ness Monster. This elusive creature was first sighted in 1933, and there are more than 1,000 eye-witness accounts. This region in the Highlands is also famous for its beautiful scenery, castles, lighthouses, and adventure sports.
Amazing sunset at the Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye, Scotland. Photo courtesy of TomasSereda/iStock.com
ISLE OF SKYE
Scotland has delightful folklore and traditions, and nowhere is that more evident than the Isle of Skye, located on the west coast of Scotland. With its cascading waterfalls, dramatic mountains, and medieval castles, the island is well suited for legends.
Many famous stories surround the Skye Fairies, and visitors delight in exploring scenic island locations to learn about these historic legends. Don’t miss the Fairy Pools in Glenbrittle. The bluish-green, crystal clear waters, viewed against a backdrop of misty mountains, has made the Fairy Pools a top attraction on Skye.
Dunvegan Castle on the northwest coast of Skye also has many legends of fairies. You can visit the ancient castle to hear the tales and then stop to view the famous Fairy Bridge. Skye Fairy Glen, on the Trotternish Peninsula in northern part of Skye, is another terrific place to visit.
No matter where you go in Scotland, you’re sure to be enchanted.